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Milena Bini

1972 Brescia, Italy

1 Works exhibited

Current location

Brescia

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  • About the Artist

APPELS!

The Apples created by Milena Bini (Brescia, 1972) derive from historical Pop culture iconography like that of Oldenburg’s magnifications; however, Bini’s Apples are part of a much more contemporary New Pop trend and are characterized by a distinctive feature: the material is not plastic and is not the same plaster that was used by the historic American Pop artist to reproduce the nasty fetishes of consumer culture (hamburgers, ice cream cones, cakes…), nor is it the shiny enameled steel of Koons’ disturbingly kitsch balloons. The artist works with clay—a material typical of Mediterranean historical and artistic tradition. Owing to her great technical expertise, the artist achieves glazed ceramics that are unique in their formal elegance; they are defined by iridescent, glossy or matte colors that blend into one another and by decorative elements like studs, glitter, bright paints, and Murano glass stems—stems which are often replaced by a steel nail that acts as a hypothetical stem but that (note!) does not represent any reference to the Christian symbolism of the passion of Christ nor to the original sin, as one might naturally come to think.

Other times her apples are characterized by mass media icons, such as the glittering palm trees used to promote lovely tourist resorts or the American flag, as well as by motifs that reference expressive techniques, workmanship, and stylistic features that became iconic throughout art history: from dripping to chrome-plating and from the Magrittean sky to tribal graffiti.

Bini doesn’t aim to criticize mass culture nor the artistic system that reproposes old art techniques, but rather she aims for (self)assertion of individuality within a society that leans towards homogenization—a society that is strongly influenced by stereotypes used in marketing and advertising as well as by superstructures. The installation \"Catch Diversity\" is composed of apples that all share the same form, like each and every one of us, but that are diverse in \"character\"—that is, the aesthetic character that the artist gives an apple by enriching it with various decorations, enamels and textures with symbolic elements. 

The installations composed of her sculptural apples thus become a symbol of humanity’s heterogeneous spirit and character, and they stand to defend the aspect that defines every human being: to be anatomically identical but diverse in appearance. The many interventions that Bini makes to her sculptures become a metaphorical representation of this biological diversity. Her apples are typos, or original forms.

The idea comes from the (autobiographical) story of a green apple forced to grow in a tree full of red apples. Marginalized and suffering, the apple makes a sort of initiatory journey that leads it to redemption, that brings it to accept its own diversity and that establishes self-enhancement as its focal point. Milena herself underwent the same process in her existential journey, using art as an tool to save her self-assertion. And success has come: from the exhibitions at Fuori Salone in Milan, to the one at Quistini Castle in Rovato (Bs), and now making it to the new Milanese restaurant belonging to the famous star chef Alessandro Borghese: AB. The luxury of simplicity. The apple fell from the tree but only to rise again adorned with glory.

The project: "Catch diversity” is an art installation that aims to bring the observer to reflect on his/her own diversity/peculiarity and uniqueness as well as on that of others. The inspiration for this installation came from a story that I wrote years ago entitled “A Big Apple”—biography of an apple. Although very simple, this story dealt with the theme of diversity, following the narrative of a green apple that grows amid a tree of red apples. Taking inspiration from the figure of the apple and using its shape as a base, I then modified the exterior of each of the exhibited apples as much as possible; I thus obtained a sort of colorful portrait of a society in which there is a common shape but a diverse culture."

Works by Milena Bini

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2020

20 x 18 x 18 cm

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